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Is personal injury protection necessary?

If you have personal injury protection coverage as part of an auto insurance policy, it allows you to file a claim for damages resulting from a car accident with your own insurance company rather than the other driver's. In some states, personal injury protection is mandatory, while others make it optional. According to the Insurance Information Institute, it depends a great deal upon whom the laws of the state hold responsible for the accident.

Currently, there are 10 states that have true no-fault laws on the books. These laws limit your ability to sue the other driver if you become injured in a car accident. In each of these states, the law requires you to have personal injury protection as part of your auto insurance policy.

Three states, Kentucky, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, are choice no-fault states, meaning that it is within your power to retain your right to sue another driver for the injuries you sustain in a car accident. Your auto insurance policy reflects your choice, but in either case, the laws of these states still require you to carry PIP coverage.

There are 11 other states that do not impose limits on lawsuits against the other driver, meaning that they are not true no-fault states, but they either allow or require drivers to carry personal injury protection on auto insurance policies. Because these states have added PIP coverage to the traditional tort liability system, the term "add-on states" applies to them. Some add-on states require PIP coverage while others make it optional. Washington is one of the latter. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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